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Study Abroad and Domestic Study Away

Notes from Abroad: Kaya in China

Kaya Holland ’18 is a Chemistry major with a minor in Asian Studies studying in Shanghai, China through the ACM Shanghai program.

My time in Shanghai, China has been an amazing experience so far. Not only have I been able to experience the culture that I have been studying since high school, but I have also gotten to be a part of it. I am learning so much about China, the language, and even myself. Even though it hasn’t been perfect, especially the weather, it is definitely a place that I am slowly learning to get used to. One of the best things about the program is having such a great support system like my roommate Shan and my mentor Professor Chen. They both have been such a huge help and have really made my transition to a new country a whole lot easier.

My first impression of Shanghai wasn’t the best; I was afraid that I wouldn’t make any friends and that the language barrier would be too much to handle.  On the contrary, I have made friendships that I hope will last a lifetime and my Chinese is getting better and better every day. The classroom setup is very similar to Lake Forest’s where students are encouraged to ask questions and engage in discussion. However, I am still getting used to having class once a week for three hours straight. It requires me to stay organized and stay on top of all of my work. Chinese classes are three times a week for two hours and forty-five minutes. Sometimes it can seem like a lot, but I definitely see an improvement. It probably also helps that I am sometimes forced to speak the language, even with the little bit I do know.

While being here, I have gotten to explore and see how Shanghai truly is. Even through some of my difficulties, I have come to realize it is a place full of beautiful history and culture and I’m not sure I will want to leave at the end of this semester. Already, this experience has been an amazing opportunity. I just want to thank Lake Forest College as well as my sponsor for the    Ingrid H. and George L. Speros Scholar, Ms. McGowan for helping one of my biggest dreams come true. I have been in Shanghai for about a month and a half and it still feels like a dream.


Kaya Holland